Conference promises to shed new light on First World War internment

– Posted on Monday 18th August 2014

A special conference organised by the Manx Museum and De Montfort University takes place next month on the subject of First World War internment on the Isle of Man. Marking the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first German and Austrian civilian prisoners on the Isle of Man in September 1914, the proceedings get underway on Friday 12 September with a public lecture at the Manx Museum by Profession Panikos Panayi, on Knockaloe as a site of imperial internment.

Professor Panayi of De Montfort University has spent many years studying internment and has published widely on the impact of the First World War on German communities in Britain prior to 1914. His latest release, Germans as Minorities during the First World War, was published in July 2014 by Ashgate publishing.

The following day, Saturday 13 September will see a number of academics from Britain, Germany and America gather to present their research into internment in the First World War. Sessions are open to members of the public with an interest in this subject. Finally on Sunday 14th September a tour of the site of Knockaloe Camp will take place, led by Yvonne Cresswell of Manx National Heritage.

MNH Curator Matthew Richardson commented:

“This promises to be a fascinating conference, on one of the lesser known aspects of the First World War. The role of the Isle of Man as an internment centre is one that we are still unravelling almost 100 years later, and new and revealing pieces of information continue to come to light, telling us more about what life was like in the camps of Douglas and Knockaloe for the Germans, Austrians and Turks held here”.

Matthew added:

“We are enormously proud at Manx National Heritage to be hosting the distinguished team of scholars which Professor Panayi has brought together. This is a really unique opportunity for people of the Isle of Man to hear and interact with some of the leading researchers in this field”.  

Full details of the conference programme and how to book can be found on


Image caption: Rush for dinner at Knockaloe Internment Camp by German Internee, George Kenner.

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